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Prog Folk • France

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Malicorne biography
Founded in 1973 - Disbanded in 1989 - Reformed between 2011-2017

MALICORNE was founded in 1973 by French singer/guitarist Gabriel YACOUB and Marie YACOUB, after having recorded an album together. With several other musicians, MALICORNE released approximately 10 albums between 1973 and 1986. The band's speciality was French traditional (i.e. folk) music, but revamped and updated with a fresher, more progressive format. Besides guitars and bass, the musician's played a wide variety of instruments, with focus on early wind and string instruments (crumhorns, recorders, violins, rebecs, dulcimers, harmoniums, autoharp, saxophone, hurdy-gurdy, etc.) Brian GULLAND of the band GRYPHON even joined the band for the recording of "Le Bestiare" (roughly meaning "The Animals"). Although the vocals are in native French, they are very listenable (perhaps more so than vocals in Italian, German, Spanish). So fans of GRYPHON, STEELEYE SPAN, GENTLE GIANT, PFM, and maybe VDGG might enjoy this band.

The later albums by the MALICORNE are the high points, taking advantage of improved sound quality due to improvements in technology, and also a rockier approach. Earlier albums had mostly percussion and little drums. But starting with 1979's "Le Bestiare", the band maintained a drummer to beef up the sound. 1981's "Balancoire en Feu", and 1986's "Les Cathedrales de L'Industrie" are the band's true masterpieces.

Recommended for those who enjoy listening to atypical instruments, exotic melodies, and folk tendencies.

: : : Jim Richmond, USA : : :

See also: WiKi

MALICORNE Videos (YouTube and more)

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Griffe 2012
$716.04 (used)
Legende Duexieme EpoqueLegende Duexieme Epoque
Hannibal 1991
$18.12 (used)
Le Mariage AnglaisLe Mariage Anglais
Griffe 2012
$8.99 (used)
Live Aux FrancofoliesLive Aux Francofolies
Production Sterne (Broken Silence) 2013
$118.66 (used)
Le BestiaireLe Bestiaire
Le Roseau 2015
Sony 2005
$112.00 (used)
En PublicEn Public
Acousteak Records 1997
$12.75 (used)
L'Extraordinaire Tour De France by MalicorneL'Extraordinaire Tour De France by Malicorne
$975.85 (used)
Live Aux Francofolies by Malicorne (2011-03-07)Live Aux Francofolies by Malicorne (2011-03-07)
Production Sterne (Broken Silence)
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Malicorne /L'extraordinaire Tour De France French Folk Import CD Siwan Korea USD $29.99 [0 bids]
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MALICORNE 1974 debut. Breton / French Prog folk. NEAR MINT. USD $7.99 [0 bids]
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DEL-MALICORNE - LE BESTIAIRE - CD - NEW USD $21.27 Buy It Now 2 days
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Malicorne ?S/T "Colin" LP 1974 France NEAR MINT VINYL USD $19.74 Buy It Now 4 days
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MALICORNE discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

MALICORNE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.82 | 11 ratings
Gabriel & Marie Yacoub: Pierre De Grenoble
3.11 | 16 ratings
Malicorne 1 [Aka: Colin]
3.38 | 31 ratings
Malicorne 2 [Aka: Le Mariage Anglais]
3.88 | 41 ratings
3.11 | 18 ratings
Malicorne 4 [Aka: Nous Sommes Chanteurs De Sornettes]
3.52 | 14 ratings
L' Extraordinaire Tour de France d'Adelard Rousseau ...
3.40 | 16 ratings
Le Bestiaire
2.97 | 11 ratings
Balançoire En Feu
3.19 | 8 ratings
Les Cathédrales De L'Industrie

MALICORNE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 14 ratings
En Public
4.00 | 2 ratings
Concert exceptionnel aux Francofolies de La Rochelle 2010

MALICORNE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

MALICORNE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.12 | 5 ratings
3.31 | 4 ratings
2.09 | 4 ratings
4.00 | 2 ratings
Marie de Malicorne

MALICORNE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)


Showing last 10 reviews only
 L' Extraordinaire Tour de France d'Adelard Rousseau ... by MALICORNE album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.52 | 14 ratings

L' Extraordinaire Tour de France d'Adelard Rousseau ...
Malicorne Prog Folk

Review by ISRPRG

3 stars Hello Everyone I have enjoyed a few of the earlier folkier albums by this band and decided to write a review from one of the later more progressive albums from these guys. This is a Progressive folk album, A genre that usually doesnt have many ravers as usually progheads tend to come from the rockier side of the music spectrum while folkheads (is this a word?) tend to be very traditionalist and enjoy usually only the old standards with a few (If any) modern twists in the music.

Not only is this progressive folk but this is also a French progressive folk album making it even more rare and also reducing the amount of folks willing to enjoy it and also able to enjoy lyrics which as usual with thiese guys are meaningful and also very playful which does not pass well when translated.

So after this what about the album you ask? Well..this is one of the better progressive french folk albums out there and it is good because the choice of material is good meaning you wont find any fancy or elaborate playing technics in here but you will get a collection of good folk tunes played with modern instruments (and in most cases combined with classic ones as well). Malicorne come from the folk side of music and decided to combine some more modern approches to their music meaning that unlike Jethro Tull heavy horses era where a band with a few rock albums on its sleeve decided to add folk elements to their music Malicorne did the opposite and after creating albums that where steeped in the traditional (Mainly Breton) french folk decided to modernize the sound and they were doing it slowly from one album to another where this album i would say is the first to earn the title Progressive folk.

This album is an aquired taste The first two tracks are folk tracks played with modern instruments with very progressive mid instrumental sectioned between the more folk verses. The third track is a very folkish track with a kind of carnaval atmosphere sang by Mary Yacoub. The forth track is one of my favorites which reminds me a lot of steeleye span which means it is a folkish tunes with nice progressive druming that give it a bit more dynamic movement. Track five is a sad piano lead track which is not the greatest i heard. Track 6 is one of the strangest and best on the album. It starts with sounds of people cutting down trees (Or something like that) and then we have a chant about the significance of colours which gives a strong a capella performence from the whole band (They were always good with the a capella parts). Track 7 is a surprise. It starts with a standard (for this album) folk tune with all the instruments as before but turns mid section with a guitar solo!! (Guitar solo? Malicorne?) i kid you not and it is rather good as well and fits in tune with song as well. Track 8 is a classic french folk song which with me evokes so many things about my visits to the french countryside (La campagne) and is a good but not progressive song at all. Track 9 is another good a Capella song from the band, It is not progressive at all but damn they give such good a capella songs - There arent many groups who can do this good as they can. Track 10 is a standard Gabriel Yacoub song which while as always is moving is not his best. Track 11 is an instrumental reprise of the first song and closes the album well giving it a majestic finish using a brass band.

This a good album from an excelent band, If you like french folk music and also progressive folk you will of course enjoy this but i do think this will appeal more to those who like folk music (mainly french) more then progressive rock in general. For even more progressive and adventurous albums you should try the next one "La Bestiere" which in my opinion is an even better album.

 Almanach by MALICORNE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.88 | 41 ratings

Malicorne Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars When approaching decades old material heard for the first time, one must resist the temptation to compare it to those who came after but were known first. Also, although an album's present appeal is what counts most, one must also factor in its influence and ingenuity at the time. In the case of MALICORNE's "breakthrough" third album, all of these aspects are brought to bear. Gabriel and Marie Yacoub advanced the Breton prog folk cause with their precise and uniquely dour medieval style, but they also sound like they were listening to STEELEYE SPAN's "Parcel of Rogues" while stoned, and are still in an altered state today.

Yes indeed this is Brittany's answer to that Steeleye classic which appeared a couple of years earlier, from the herky jerky guitars, violins, a cappella male and female voices to the dirge like rhythms, minimal drums and profound respect for the living and evolving tradition. And while its epic tracks are the highlights - particularly the ponderous "Ecolier Assassin", the eerie "Le Luneux" and the Allison Gross-like closer "La fiancee du timbalier", MALICORNE conjures more atmosphere than a Shakespearean witch. Even if the overall musical mood is considerably more morose than that of Steeleye (and as a result more consistent with the ominous lyrics), and a bit more so than I would like, they do loosen the corset for the GRYPHON like "Branle de la Haie".

Lest you leave with the impression that Yacoub's longstanding project was nothing but a very good rehash of someone else's pet project, may I first say that they managed to forge a clear identity with this, their third disk, and inspired many artists to come, including many from my native Quebec - GAROLOU for instance - where I know they toured at least once. While it might be harder for a hardened fan of 1970s folk rock to enthusiastically endorse MALICORNE on first listen, this disk belongs in everyone's almanac of significant progressive folk music.

 Le Bestiaire by MALICORNE album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.40 | 16 ratings

Le Bestiaire
Malicorne Prog Folk

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars There is something about the music on Malicorne's album `Le Bestiaire' (roughly translated to `The Animals') that transports me to another space and time. Something of an other-wordly quality that I'm even sometimes reminded of fellow French band Magma, who, lets face it, are pretty much a jazzy alien cult disguised as a progressive band! In the photograph that accompanies the LP sleeve, the Malicorne band members are all dressed in matching white outfits, and this just reinforces the sect like nature of this project to me. Like Magma, their music is frequently hypnotic and repetitive, with a chanting like tone to their repeated French vocals and lyrics. There is a wonderfully throaty and droning quality to the combined male and female voices on this record that I find highly intoxicating. The music takes me away from reality.

Malicorne's music on this album has the combined sounds of medieval chamber music, folk, choral, progressive rock, classical and even very slight disco elements merged together. It creates a very disorientating sound, which will surely make it a difficult listen for some, whereas I prefer to think of it as challenging. This is why we listen to progressive music, to hear musicians attempt something new, experimental and different, mixing musical styles to create something fresh and wholly unique.

Although all the music on the album is very much folk based, the first track on side A, `Les Sept...', also has repetitive mix of a deep funky bass and drum-beats, harmonica and almost monotonous male/female vocals. This changes into a dirty lead guitar break and harsh electronics during the instrumental second half that sounds a little like 70's fellow French band Ange, and there's a similar unsettling drama to it all. `La Mule' is a stunning acapella group harmony piece, with the band singing an intense and complicated choral arrangement with that wondrous throaty drone. `Le Branle...' is a beautiful instrumental medieval jig with lots of energy and passion, changing rhythms and beautiful flute throughout. After a brief choral intro, `Les Transformation' falls away in to a delicate but slightly threatening acoustic passage, with mournful male/female vocals and eerie synths. Wilting violin, recorder, bagpipes and and an atmospheric lead guitar solo blur together throughout this dreamy piece, before the finale turns the whole thing into a medieval raga. Lot of open space and ambience throughout this track, and it's one of the albums highlights.

Side B `La Chasse...' begins with a very dark and unpleasant ambient piece with strange electronic sound effects. It then becomes a lamenting ballad, with Gabriel Yacoub's warm storytelling vocals and acoustic guitar, before some very prominent slapping bass and forceful percussion. This repetitive track has a very catchy but moody melody, while some spacey effects and a gong brings it to a close. `Le Ballet...' is a short medieval based fanfare played on violin, recorder and flute. It serves almost as an introduction to `Alexandre...', a dreamy piece with a somber and reflective female lead vocal and acoustic guitar. A choral driven middle not unlike Magma then diverts into a stomping violin driven raga. The darkly classical `Jean Des Loups' reprises some themes and melodies from throughout the album, with tense violin, bashing drums and grumbling bass snaps backed to an infrequent disco-like beat! The melody in the middle section has an almost uplifting quality, then it reprises back to the earlier darker themes with dramatic strings and a murky violin solo and electric guitar solo to the fadeout. With so many conflicting elements in the final track, there's even subtle traces of bands such as Gentle Giant and Gryphon throughout this one too.

Only initially familiar with the band Malicorne by their name alone, knowing that they were somehow progressive related, I came across this album in a second hand record shop, where it was marked $6 - very cheap for a rarer release. However I feel the album must have been from an ex radio host/DJ's collection, as scrawled across the front cover in thick black marker pen was the label `File under French section'. Thankfully the LP itself was in superb condition, so the quality of the album was a step up from the disappointment of the LP sleeve cover being mostly ruined!

With Malicorne, I know to expect something fascinating and unique, from a talented band of musicians who present a truly personal and creative musical persona. I've since come across more of their albums and find that they are a band well worth looking in to, and to more patient and open- minded listeners, a truly challenging and rewarding experience.

 Malicorne 2 [Aka: Le Mariage Anglais] by MALICORNE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.38 | 31 ratings

Malicorne 2 [Aka: Le Mariage Anglais]
Malicorne Prog Folk

Review by Guldbamsen
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

1 stars Let's party like it was 1489!!!

Maybe I am missing the plot here, but I honestly don't hear the prog in this outing. Not that I need to - I happen to enjoy a wide variety of music from classical to hip hop, but this sophomore release by Frenck folkers Malicorne just doesn't do anything for me.

Firstly, and to address my opening accusation: Where is the prog hiding? To this listener it sounds like a slab of genuine folk music, and no matter how much these individuals excel on an acoustic guitar - play it upside down with their back teeth and a sparrow in their pocket, that is all I am hearing. Truth be told, Malicorne are a bunch of astonishingly gifted musicians who play stuff like krümhorn, electric dulcimer, bouzouki, hurdy-gurdy, psaltery, harmonium, mandolin, violin and something called epinette de Vosges which is a traditional picked string instrument from France. Well ooh la la - and sacre bleu all at once you may say in a feverish ecstasy!

The problem however is that I keep thinking in medieval paintings and settings. The music instantly flies me off to a dozen old Robin Hood movies with men in tights and green clothing swinging around bonfires with a half eaten ham in one hand and a laughing toothless wench in the other. Other times there is more of a royal court feel happening, as in proper ancient string instruments being picked like were you about to experience the entrance ceremony to Louis Quatorze's inner most sacred chambers. It sounds mystical and deer like a crown of jewels and gold figurines, but it still doesn't put the umph in my trousers in any way conceivable.

Oh yeah there are festive musical scenes as well. How could I ever forget? Louis obviously feels secure and laid back around you, and subsequently invites you to the in house castle ball underneath his mighty fortress of stone. There up-lit by a million golden candles you find fair ladies with huge balcony dresses and Cruella Deville hair - painted porcelain white in their faces twirling about to the music that slowly and comfortably spins around its own axis sounding like one of those musical boxes you need a key to operate. Even the individual tracks on this album sound like they have that opening salute you often see in old cinematic ball scenes, where the dancers bow for one another. That happens with the music too - this tiny ode making sure that the audience is ready for a good waltz around the castle.

If you haven't yet noticed, I am not a fan of this kind of music. It's not what I would expect finding on PA, and those sparsely scattered moments on this album - like the electric stuttering guitar hammers that lie waaaaaay in the back of the second track are not enough to persuade me out of my thermal g-string. These moments are however my favourite things about Malicorne 2, but I still won't be reaching out for it any time soon, unless I've bagged a red-headed vampire Kate Beckinsale look-alike that just loves music from her youth ie pop from the middle ages and the renaissance.

 Balançoire En Feu by MALICORNE album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.97 | 11 ratings

Balançoire En Feu
Malicorne Prog Folk

Review by Kjarks

4 stars I can understand why this album deceived some listeners, even among those who had followed and supported the group before : the sound is not folk anymore, it's a perfect radio sound, based on electric instruments most of the time and also often on pop rock rythms.

And it is a big surprise to discover that the lyrics have been written by a famous french songwriter, Etienne Roda-Gil (who wrote most hits of singers like Julien Clerc, for those who know a lttle bit about french popular music, and also made french translations for the italian singer Angelo Branduardi).

In this record, malicorne evolve like Clanad did too : closer to pop songs.

Nevertheless, the lyrics of Etienne Roda-Gil are subtile, in the style of old folklore stories ; the melodies are still remembering old french folk songs and all of them are quite beautiful, mostly composed by Gabriel Yacoub ; and the harmonies and the voices of Marie and Gabriel are pure and beautiful, as always so deep and moving, maybe more than ever thanks to the great engineering job realised on this album.

For these reasons, it has never been a real matter for me to accept the modern style and sound of this record and the pop oriented rythm section. There is not a song to be weaker than the others, even the shorter one, "Paysans sans peur", which appears to be the nearest to the french folk tradition ; even "La petite oasis", surely the only title to be a simple pop song far from this same tradition.

And the highlights, "Balanoire en feu", "Soldat de la rpublique" and "Quand le cyprs", will remain in your mind a very long time after a single listening.

 Almanach by MALICORNE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.88 | 41 ratings

Malicorne Prog Folk

Review by Kjarks

4 stars With their third album, Malicorne reached a higher level and began to be recognized by a larger public. The traditional materials remain preponderant in this record. Even the arrangements stay close to the folk sources of each songs.

Gabriel and Marie were born in Paris (not in Bretagne) and their mother was from the center part of France (not far from Orléans), but their father had libanese origins and I can not help feeling that some oriental influences can sometime be heard in some vocal inflections, more especially in Marie's voice when she sings "Quand je menais mes chevaux boire".

On the contrary, in "Le luneux" ("le", not "les" ; there's only one luneux in the song !), pure wonder sung nearly a capella, her voice recovers the deep feeling of old french folk songs.

The two other great moments of this album are the two epics. The voice of Gabriel, more especially in "L'écolier assassin", is deeply emotionnal, as the stories are cruel and sad. The music is slow, deep, it takes you by the guts, it is mermerizing at some extend.

"La fiancée du timbalier", adapted from the poem of the great french poet Victor Hugo, enrich conveniently the CD reissue.

 Le Bestiaire by MALICORNE album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.40 | 16 ratings

Le Bestiaire
Malicorne Prog Folk

Review by Kjarks

5 stars I am very surprised to see the ratings that have been given to this record untill now, because it is the closest to Prog music Malicorne ever did. And, more over, it is a real jewel. I can not find another word to describe it.

In spite of some line up changes, the group kept on this record its very subtile spirit mixing traditionnal themes and moderne arrangements. "Les 7 jours de mai" conciliates a very rock tempo with beautiful vocal harmonies. The splendid piece "La chasse Gallery", dominated by the strong and emotional voice of Gabriel Yacoub, is developped on a similary principle.

The two epics are more serene, "Jean des Loups" is a little bit repetitive, but both are fascinating, taking you in the magic of an intemporal atmosphere.

The shorter pieces are more conventionnal interpretations and recreations of traditionnal french music, but the strong male vocal harmonies accompagnating the pure and supplicating voice of Marie Yacoub in "La mule" create deep emotions .

So, how can I explain that this record has been so poorly noted by other contributors ? May be the rock orientation is interpretaded as a commercial concession ? But the result is real prog music and surely the most beautiful we can expect in folk prog.

 Almanach by MALICORNE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.88 | 41 ratings

Malicorne Prog Folk

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars While I may have trouble appreciating this French Folk band, this particular album went gold for them in their own country. So yes they gained some popularity with their take on traditional music. Male and female vocals with lots of acoustic guitar and violin is what is served here.

The first track is a short intro of male and female vocals while the native sounding drums beat slowly. "Quand J'Etais Chez Mon Pere" continues with the male and female vocals while the guitar helps out. Violin before 1 1/2 minutes with male vocals only. "Margot" is a short multi- vocal track. "Les Tristes Noces" is the first song that I really enjoy, especially when the tempo picks up before 2 minutes when the violin joins in. My favourite though is "Voice La Saint Jean" with the great sounding guitar along with vocals and violin.

"Le Luneaux" sounds excellent early as we get this pastoral mood with guitar. Female vocals follow. "Brance De La Haie" is more upbeat and brighter. It's interesting how melancholic this album is. That may have to do with the abundance of reserved vocals and violin.

So a good album that I wish I liked better, but then again the Folk-Prog genre is very hit and miss for me, mostly the latter.

 Le Bestiaire by MALICORNE album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.40 | 16 ratings

Le Bestiaire
Malicorne Prog Folk

Review by Lieven Van Paemel

3 stars A drastical line-up change... Exit Laurent Vercambre and Hughes de Courson...

Some parts of the album like "Les sept jours de Mai", "Branle des cheveaux" are much heavier than similar traditionals on the previous albums. "Danse Bulgare" and "Chant des coqs" are still very nice. The highlight for me is "Les Transformations" which really sounds like Malicorne. Still I prefer the version "Les Métamorhoses" on "L'habit de plumes" by René Werneer (also a former Alan Stivell bandmember like Gabriel and Marie).

The rest of the album is rather weak... "2" and "Almanach" truly were progressive folk albums and also "L'extraordinaire Tour de France d' Adelard Rousseau" was excellent...

 Malicorne 2 [Aka: Le Mariage Anglais] by MALICORNE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.38 | 31 ratings

Malicorne 2 [Aka: Le Mariage Anglais]
Malicorne Prog Folk

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars On their second album, things start coming together for Malicorne. It's still a folksy album but the quality is high throughout and there are some moments of astonishing beauty. As to the whole progressive debate, Malicorne is decidedly no rock but progressive yes, at least in my book. They helped redefine folk music from something stuffy and grey into something modern and fresh.

The highlight is the 10 minute epic plaintive ballad La fille aux chansons, one of the most touching and overwhelming expressions of pain and sadness that I know. The grief becomes almost tangible and the exquisite beauty of it is absolutely timeless and universal. Together with a few songs from eastern world music, this is guaranteed to cause a lump in my throat.

Their ensuing album Almanach is their crowning achievement but you shouldn't miss this album if you feel anything for bands like Fairport Convention, Decemberists or even Dead Can Dance.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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